LinkedIn announces the Top Voices of 2021: Next Gen
LinkedIn India shared ‘The Top Voices: Next Gen list’ comprising 20 inspiring individuals from the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs in India. These creators are spread across sectors and inspire and motivate Gen Z by not just doing incredible things themselves, but also aiding thousands to achieve their career aspirations. The common thread binding these 20 Top Voices encourages them to keep challenging the status quo, and to inspire thousands with their words and actions. For eligibility, LinkedIn has looked at emerging professionals and students with up to 10 years of work experience, and additionally used quantitative signals such as engagement (including reactions, comments and shares across each member’s content), posting cadence, and follower growth over a period of 12 months from January 2020 to December 2020.
“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.”
I love this quote by Elon Musk. And I am sure each person on the Top Voices: Next Gen list would scream a resounding “Oh yeah” with me.
I won’t bore you with cliched phrases such as, “we’re living in unprecedented times” et al, but I would like to share that, now more than ever Indian youth is shaping the work conversation with their immense enterprise and unlimited creativity.
We are so thrilled to share with you 20 outstanding individuals, all of whom represent the very best of LinkedIn creators. And what creators they are. Videos, podcasts, memes, long
The common thread among these 20 Top Voices is to constantly challenge the status quo and to impact thousands with their words and actions.
Go ahead and follow each of the honourees of Top Voices: Next Gen and feel inspired.
P.S. the list is alphabetical in order.
Anirudh decided in his second year of college at BITS Pilani that engineering wasn't his cup of tea. But it was only after a two-month-long freelancing blitz, where he worked for 19 hours a day, that the idea of a content services marketplace came about. His startup Pepper Content is a phenomenal success story and offers a platform where creators and brands can find each other. Anirudh posts lessons and anecdotes from his entrepreneurial journey and tips for job seekers, besides talking about the creator economy and the content marketing space.
Anshika Gupta is a software engineer at Amazon, and a resolute content creator. She inspires thousands by sharing her career journey and relatable life lessons from setbacks. Her video content in Hindi connects with thousands of students who are aspiring to secure a job in big tech companies.
Bhanu Harish was studying in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh when a school science teacher motivated him to consider engineering at an IIT campus. He went on to complete his engineering from IIT Roorkee, and then a coveted MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. But his claim to fame has been Finshots – a 3-minute, daily newsletter focused on finance, policy and business news that attracted an investment of ₹4 crore from Zerodha. His feed is a great place to read up on his learnings from building a scalable business.
Leadership comes naturally to Bharatendu Verma, currently a batch representative at the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad and formerly president of the students’ union at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce. His entrepreneurial streak is evident from the string of startups he has co-founded, as well as from side projects like The Younger Me, which helps students crack MBA entrances, and SIGMA, which aims to find jobs for pandemic-hit workers. Bharatendu posts regularly about his experiences, failures and learnings, occasionally sprinkling a dollop of humour that keeps things relatable.
Dania Faruqui left a plum job as a management consultant at EY to build things from the ground up at social commerce startup ShopG. She loves to call a spade a spade and doesn’t shy away from expressing contrarian views, whether it’s the dependence of India’s startup ecosystem on Chinese capital or the vilification of those who migrate abroad for better career opportunities. A Quora Top Writer, she knows a thing or two about content creation. Her advice: develop a unique style and stick to it, don’t try to please everyone, and read voraciously.
Few people have a way with both words and code like Gaurav Sen, who worked at coveted employers Directi and Uber before launching InterviewReady – a platform that helps software engineers prepare for technical interviews. His LinkedIn profile is a goldmine of valuable nuggets and best practices for software engineers, besides candid takes on topics like rote learning and India’s fixation with good grades.
This marketing wunderkind from Kottayam, Kerala calls himself an “accidental entrepreneur”, whose love for memes led him to start a creative digital marketing agency while still in college. Jaison posts primarily on topics like marketing, project management, entrepreneurship and growth hacking, deriving insights from personal experiences. He urges content creators to focus on providing value and not obsess over numbers on social media. “Be consistent. If your posts aren't getting reactions, it doesn't mean that you are not making an impact,” he tells LinkedIn.
Udaipur boy Kalpit Veerwal is a prodigious talent who entered the record books for being the first student ever to score a perfect 360/360 in JEE Mains. Currently in his final year of computer science engineering at IIT Bombay, he runs AcadBoost – a bootstrapped ed-tech venture that provides mentorship to students from Class 9 to the college level. When Kalpit’s enterprise ran out of funds in his second year of college, he worked overtime as a freelancer and did brand deals with some companies to keep the business afloat. He posts regularly on topics ranging from academics and career planning to productivity and entrepreneurship.
After Nansi was told that her communication skills were poor, she started saying ‘no’ to opportunities that required addressing people. It’s tough to believe that the same person would go on to co-found 100x Entrepreneur, a startup-focused podcast that has hosted illustrious names like Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl and Sequoia’s Rajan Anandan. The secret to Nansi’s turnaround tale: utilise all the opportunities you get in life and never hesitate to reach out to people for help. A champion for working mothers, she posts frequently on balancing career and parenthood, startups and podcasts.
What started off as an internal social initiative pitch at Goldman Sachs became PeriFerry – Neelam Jain’s brainchild that aims to create sustainable employment opportunities for the transgender community. The social inclusion startup has so far placed over 170 trans people and trained more than 330, and its client base includes reputed names like Adobe, Accenture, ThoughtWorks and Walmart Labs. Neelam sensitises workplaces on the challenges faced by the LGBTQI+ community and the importance of diversity and inclusion, besides sharing her experience of bootstrapping a social startup.
From Joshimath (a small town in Uttarakhand) to Silicon Valley, chef-turned-lecturer-turned-entrepreneur Preksha Kaparwan’s journey is inspiring. “Marketing is my first love but technology tickled my curiosity,” she says – and the two come together in the content posted by her. With countless original videos on artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science, Preksha is democratising education and conversations on emerging technologies. Follow her for insights into upcoming concepts, startup tips and candid takes on her own fears and learnings.
Radhika is a prolific content creator who lives and breathes news, sharing fascinating yet little-known stories about brands and businesses. Sample these interesting tidbits on how Elon Musk invested the money he pocketed from PayPal’s sale, how Larry Page and Sergey Brin failed at selling Google within a year of its inception, and how Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA. Her posts also dissect companies’ business models and acquisition deals, eliciting comments and applause from venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
A premium networking club for women where each and every member is a paid user and is spoken to personally before they are onboarded, that’s Leap.Club. Ragini Das left a successful career at Zomato to startup leap.club, at the start of the pandemic, in March 2020. Ragini’s feed is a ring-side view into the painstaking process of starting up in the ‘new normal’ as leap.club has 1000 members with 7500 on the waitlist.
How many social media influencers can you think of who have managed to run a successful content business beyond their personal brand? Health and fitness influencer, life coach, podcaster, video content creator and founder; Ranveer Allahbadia is unlike any other person his age. Ranveer does so many things, it is beyond impressive! All while staying on top of his fitness routine. He founded BeerBiceps that makes self-improvement content and has 7 million followers across platforms. With Monk Entertainment, he and his team of 50 create content and digital marketing solutions for brands and personalities. His feed is always LIT with motivation and inspiring interviews of who’s who from the corporate and entertainment world.
Can a viral social media page lead to starting up a successful business? If you look at Sahil Vaidya, the answer is most definitely a yes. An engineer from IIT Bombay, Sahil is the co-founder of one of the most exciting design and digital agencies – The Minimalist. His feed is a treasure trove of punchy one-liners, thoughtful contemplations and rhetoric and witty commentary on people’s social media personas. Each post looks like an essay, complete in itself, yet leaving you wanting for more.
It’s not every day that your LinkedIn feed features photos of a young guy doing yogasanas. Follow Sarvesh and you will get tips on mindfulness and staying healthy. Chennai born Sarvesh is a college dropout and let go of an opportunity to join his family business at 21. When asked what he’d like to do, he turned to Yoga. His personal practice and discipline gave him the inspiration to make Yoga exciting and cool for millennials and Gen Z. The last 8 years have seen him build Zorba fitness studios across India and Sarva Yoga - a truly global, and now increasingly digital wellness brand. His investors and business partners include Jennifer Lopez and Malaika Arora.
Shatakshi Sharma believes in one value above all else, and that is freedom, especially mental freedom and she finds that in entrepreneurship. In pursuit of that very freedom, Shatakshi started Global Governance Initiative while she was studying at ISB, Hyderabad. Incidentally, her entrepreneurship journey started just three days after she had bagged an offer from Boston Consulting Group. Shatakshi focusses on three big issues and you’ll find her feed packed with these efforts to create an equitable ecosystem for youth and especially girls, reimagining higher education in India via Global Governance Initiative and normalizing failures and sharing life lessons from them.
Sukhada is a digital marketer from Nagpur and creates wonderful thought pieces on marketing and creativity. She has spent a significant portion of the last couple of years building and nurturing communities. She is refreshingly honest about the hurdles she faced keeping her 4-year-old co-working space in Nagpur open amid the pandemic only eventually shutting it down due to lack of business. Her skills as a digital marketer and a community developer are proving to be a terrific combination in this new normal where we all increasingly live online. Consistency and self-
Vanshika Mehta is a freelance storyteller and branding and communication consultant. Her network swears by her practical, relatable and consistent content on demystifying the world of personal and institutional brand building and content writing. Vanshika switched to remote working and freelancing just at the onset of the pandemic in 2020 and has seen tremendous success in helping brands find an authentic and compelling persona online. She is a big advocate of remote working and freelancing.
How we compiled the Top Voices: Next Gen list
The LinkedIn Top Voices: Next Gen list comprises 20 inspiring members to follow on LinkedIn from the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs in India. For eligibility, we have looked at emerging professionals and students with up to 10 years of work experience, and additionally used quantitative signals such as engagement (including reactions, comments and shares across each member’s content), posting cadence, and follower growth over a period of 12 months from January 2020 to December 2020. LinkedIn News editors have also applied qualitative filters to refine and curate the list by looking at an eligible member’s body of work, how insightful their contributions are, and how relatable their content is to Gen Z. As with all LinkedIn Lists, we excluded current LinkedIn and Microsoft employees from consideration.